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Rosy Greenlees, President of World Crafts Council

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Rosey Gereenlees has been the president of World Crafts Council since 2016. She is also the Executive Director of British Crafts Council.

In 18th general assembly of WCC, We had an interview with her about new approaches of this Council to handicrafts issues.

World Crafts Council


What countries in the world have been successful in promoting and developing handicrafts? What countries do you think are good role models for other countries to go after?

Well I think some of the examples that we have today are very good, for example the Batik in the Kolkata, is a very good examples of how they thoughtfully take their traditional works and promote it in a very contemporary way.

Could you please mention how they have been successful?

I think because they have not only protected their traditional work but also found ways in which they can promote the making of Batik in more contemporary ways, for example through fashion shows, … .

How do you think holding events like 18th General Assembly of the World Craft Council in the hosting countries and cities like Isfahan, can affect the economy and culture of the city?

I think these events are important because they shine a light on a particular city, and this time the light is shining on Isfahan, I think it is very good, puts confidence in the city, and brings many people here, they go away and talk about the wonderful world that they have seen here, I think that is good for the city, and it is also something that Isfahan can continue to talk about and promote itself as world craft city and host of the world craft council, that gives Isfahan a statues that it can continue to use.

What is the role of education centers like universities in promoting handicrafts in societies?

I think education is very very important, I think people value things more if they understand that there is very strong academic element to it as well, and of course there is some fantastic research that can be done in crafts in place like Isfahan, I think also it is very important that we bring on a new generation of young craftspeople, therefore how we ensure that young children have the opportunity to make things and learn what it’s like to make thing, so they grow that passion and then they become craftspeople in their own right, It is also extremely important.

Is there any sort of Statistics that proves the previous conferences held in China, India and Greece were successful?

I think it is probably good to use an example like China, I can’t tell you the figures but on the back of the Golden Jubilee Celebration that we had in Dongyang, they created a whole new conference center and exhibition center, so there was a huge amount of investment which brought more money into the city.

What is the role of holding such conferences in establishing sustainable peace in the region?

I think that’s a really really important point, at the point when there was a discussion about where we would have the assembly this year, there were more than one option, and I and many other members of the board, all felt very strongly that it was important to come to Iran, this was an opportunity to show Iranian people that we are interested in what happens here, we are not frightened to come here, we want to come and enjoy the city. Now we can show you that we enjoy your company and your hospitality and that it’s been very clear to me when I’ve been walking around the streets people say welcome, they invite you in for tea, they are very friendly and very generous.

Since you have been elected as the president of the WCC for the next 4 years, is there going to be a new policy and a new approach?

Well, there will be two things, firstly yes we will do more of the same, that craft cities initiative is a very important one, it’s been very successful, what we now need to do is to expand it into other continents, for example Europe, it’s time for thinking about expanding the network and also looking at ways in which we can bring that network together and have exchange programs, that would be more of the same.

In terms of new things, I am particularly keen on doing more around social media and using new technologies, both in terms of thinking about how that has an impact on how craftspeople make but also how they distribute and they sell their work as well.

There is going to be a booklet published after the conference is finished, do you have any message for the Iranian people?

My message would be I am incredibly impressed by what you are doing in Isfahan, I think you clearly take your craft very seriously, and that’s fantastic because that’s not the case in many countries, you have been extremely welcoming, the quality of the work here is fantastic, you have wonderful heritage and one has to make that relevant in the 21 century, I would say you are doing a fantastic job.

Thank you so much

You are welcome

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